Midlands West 1

Newbold-on-Avon 15

Whitchurch 10

Whitchurch's five-match winning run in the Midlands 1 West came to a halt as they suffered their second narrow loss to promotion chasing Newbold-on-Avon to end any realistic hope of challenging for runners-up spot.

Having being edged out 13-10 at home when the sides met back in October, it proved another hard-fought and gritty affair as the Reds went down to only their second defeat in their last 12 outings.

A bruising encounter saw six yellow cards, with Newbold picking up two in the first half, and one in the second period, while the Reds were handed three sin-pinnings all in the second.

Despite picking up a losing bonus point from the 15-10 defeat, the Edgeley Park side have now slipped down a place to fourth – 12 points adrift of Newbold in second, and one point behind Dudley Kingswinford.

They will now dust themselves down and look to make a swift riposte at home to fifth placed Old Halesonians on Saturday, with their Worcestershire visitors arriving 13 points below.

Luca Owen-Youens returns after missing his first game of the season last weekend, while fellow centre Mike Gardiner is unavailable.

Whitchurch started on the front foot at Newbold, but were unable to make it count, although they were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty try when the hosts c a maul as they pushed for a score.

And they paid the price as the Warwickshire men made the most of their first visit to the opposition 22 when scoring following a strong forward surge.

However, the Reds hit back with a try from fly half Danny Nicholas, which he converted, only for Newbold to regain the lead before half time with a penalty.

Whitchurch were disrupted by a succession of yellow cards in the second half, with centre Mike Gardiner the first to go for an off the ball incident along with his opponent, while wing Tom Davies and flanker Tom Furnvival were also sin-binned.

Newbold took advantage to score a second try which they also converted and, despite a penalty from Nicholas, there was no way back for the visitors who again defended manfully to stay in the hunt.

The Reds dropped into fourth after Dudley Kingswinford's 43-17 win at Longton saw them jump over Sturdy's men and take a one-point lead.

However, Whitchurch still have a 13-point lead over next week's opponents Old Halesonians and Sturdy is backing his players in a tough test back on home ground for the Reds.

He said: "They would have been frustrated to have lost 22-0 to us at home, so I expect them to come out with all guns blazing."